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I hate couponing. Hate it! Hate it! Hate it!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm trying, really, I'm trying to coupon but it isn't working out.

Yes, I have a nice little coupon binder. My coupons are cut out and organized. I go over all the ads before shopping. I compare my grocery list with the deals. I look to stack coupons and stock up.

I still hate it.

Examples:

- I was cutting coupons the other day at the kitchen table. I swear that project alone takes not only a great deal of my time (kill a day) but also takes over my table. BTW, a guillotine paper cutter is a far better than any other method of cutting coupons. What did I end up with? Little shreds of paper trimmings all over the place that needed to be picked up.

- Also, I got distracted by DD so left the table and went back to the project. When I sat down something disturbed my nicely sorted piles and all the coupons fluttered to the floor. Oh goody.

- I finally got to the binder but I had to remove expired coupons first. Let me assure you, I only clip coupons I have any hope of using. Too bad we had to go out of town because I had a MOUND of coupons that had expired. I see all the time I put into clipping, sorting and organizing those coupons going down the drain.

- I put the new coupons in the binder then start preparing to go grocery shopping. The last time I went shopping I took my binder with me (in case I found a deal and didn't have a needed coupon with me.) That was a huge mistake. While trying to juggle the cart, my purse, the coupons I'm using and the binder, the binder drops to the floor in the store. Of course, everything is scattered all over the place. I hate coupons!

- So this time I prepare to go shopping and I see my list. I have coupons for store #1 that are expiring in in two days but most of the items on my shopping list aren't for those coupons. The coupons for store #2 have most of what I'm trying to buy and those expire in 5 days. But I really need to stop at store #3 for one item and now time is running short because I have to get to another activity when I'm done grocery shopping. I really don't have time for 2 stores. So I start thinking, if I go to store #4, I can get most of my needed items and use some of my coupons but I lose out on the soon to expire store coupons at stores #1 and #2. I ended up going to store #2 but paid too much for the items I should have bought at store #3. Doesn't that wipe out all my coupon savings?

- DD and I are in the store. I'm smart this time and only have my coupons (half I can't use because they are for a different store) and my shopping list on an envelop. I'm almost done shopping and the envelop falls on the floor and scatters. Grrrr

- I'm so busy trying to use my coupons, I have to do another trip through the store to pick up grocery list items that I by passed.

- This trip is taking so long, I'm going to late for my next appointment.

- I get to the check-out and since I need a rain-check and I have all these coupons, I decide to use a checkout clerk instead of the self-checkout. The clerk is nice and chatty and she hits the total before I catch her. I'm yelling, "Wait! Wait!" Sure enough she didn't apply any of my coupons and now that the machine is ringing up the total, I have to go to customer service to get them applied. Did I mention I'm already running late?

- BTW, while we were shopping, there were so many coupons I couldn't use. I found better non-coupon deals on the shelves. For instance, I had a coupon for eggs. The coupon brand eggs were $3.69 a dozen (organic) and I had a 40 cent off coupon. Another brand of organic eggs were $2.89. Guess which one I bought?

- Now that I'm home, the groceries are put away, and dinner is started (forget trying to get to my appointment now - we're lucky to get dinner before we go to bed), I have an envelop of coupons that I couldn't use that need to be put back into the binder and a new grocery list of items I couldn't buy at the store where I shopped so now I get to go and do it all again at a different store.

Yeah, I'm not seeing coupons saving me anything.
post #2 of 24
now that was funny and makes me feel sooo much better about being a bad coupon organizer myself!!! thanks. Really when I saw that saw about extreme couponing I thought no way - that would never work for me and now I see I'm not alone!!
post #3 of 24
It sounds like maybe you just haven't found a method that works for YOU yet.

I used to be a die-hard couponer. I'd clip just about every coupon that came my way and devoted a lot of time to organizing and using coupons. Now, the method that works best for me is to only clip coupons that are high-value (ones that will take 50% or more off the purchase price) or things I that I am brand-loyal to. It really cuts down on clipping and organizing and overall time spent.

I also think that the all-or-nothing mentality scares a off a lot of would-be coupon clippers. Try easing back and just clipping 5-10 coupons each week. Be picky about what you clip. If that number is too small, increase it gradually until you find a system that you're comfortable with.

Also, my kids with our family's couponing efforts. They clip the coupons and then get to use the money we save for something fun the family can use together. Right now they want new toys for our basement (I think they're considering darts or foosball). They've earned $30 in coupon savings to put towards it so far this year.
post #4 of 24
Okay, LOL YOu are really making it too difficult on yourself!

You are giving yourself way too many choices! Only pick say 2 stores to shop at, not 4. And do you have to do them all in one day?

If I have coupons I havn't organzized, I put them in a large ziplock and I get to them whenn I get to them. No biggie!

As far as my book when I'm shopping, I put my purse in the seat part, and balance my book on top of that. Its ussually pretty secure, and there is so much other crap in the seat, it deters people from trying to steal it. LOL

But Yes, I hate it when my coupons get messed up! I do mine on my bed, watching tv. I have nice neat little piles, and when the cat comes in, or a kid climbs up on the bed, my piles are a mess and I have to start over. Grrrrrr! I hate that part!

You just need to fiind a way to simplify. Thats all!
post #5 of 24
I'm the same as Kim anymore, I usually only cut out the ones I need now. I still have the huge coupon binder but hardly use it anymore.
post #6 of 24
To clip coupons, an easy way is that little zip thing they sell at Xmas time to cut wrapping paper. It's a little plastic thing, shaped kind of like a razor handle, with a blade inside it. No scissors, no giant paper cutter - no little bits of paper - just zip that thing around the coupon and you have it.

I only clip coupons for products I am likely to use. If I have plenty of TP or paper towels, I just skip that coupon because - guess what - there will be another coupon for it in a couple weeks.

I put the coupons into a recipe box kind of thing with tabbed markers (such as medicines, cereals, canned goods, etc.). Before shopping, I flip through it & look for coupons that match my list. My list is written on an envelope. The coupons go inside the envelope.

That's as much as I bother. ANything beyond that just isn't worth the time. And, very many times, the non-coupon brand is cheaper than the one w/ the coupon. If that happens, I leave the coupon on the shelf for someone else.
post #7 of 24
I agree with Calimari about the paper cutter being the best thing, since slice bread!

I clip only the coupons I need. I get the granddaughters to go thru them every week, and get rid of the expired ones. And I pay them 10 cents an expired coupon. Hey, whatever works.

Also I really like using coupons, and seeing exactly how much I can save on products that I would buy anyway.

One thing I don't do, is go to different stores to find the cheapest price. I shop in one store and that is it. So this makes it a little simpler.

I have a friend who does rebates. Now that is one thing, that to me is just not worth the time or effort.
post #8 of 24
I use envelopes for each month. I only cut out food coupons I will use and put them in the envelopes for the corresponding month they expire. I put any non-food coupons I will use in an envelope marked misc. I have a little basket I use to keep the envelopes in. I have a little coupon holder to put coupons in I will use on my shopping trip. I am also a fan of using paper clips to hold them together. This has worked best for me so far.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I refuse to do rebates.

As for that little paper-cutter zippy thingy, both DD and I tried it and both of us got frustrated. The guillotine paper cutter is so much better.

I've tried all different coupon organization methods. I've had coupon envelops, coupons in recipe boxes and my current system - coupons in clear plastic collectible card sleeves in a binder. I still hate it.

And I do only clip coupons for products that I'll actually use. It isn't easy since we tend not to eat processed foods and we eat mostly organic. I've lowered my standards to try to save money (going with "natural" foods instead of organic, for instance) but it is still hard to find coupons. I'm also trying to be very flexible with brands. While I'm not always thrilled with the quality of what I'm getting, I have expanded my brand selection.

I shop frequently because we don't eat a lot of frozen foods (ie: fresh produce, not frozen.)

As for the number of stores ... I have price booked the stores in my area and usually shop on a specific circuit of 7 stores.

I go to Costco once a month because that is where we buy hubby's prescriptions and some of my vitamins. While there I'll pick up staples if I find them at a good price and disposables (like Ziplock bags) because Costco is good for that stuff. I also hit two other stores about once every other month - Cash N Carry and the Grocery Outlet. Neither store carries much of what I need but I like to swing by to pick-up items for stocking up. I don't RELY on those two stores, but if I find a good deal, I'll snap them up. Except for Costco store coupons none of these stores are in the coupon circuit.

Then there comes the 4 big grocery stores in my area: Winco (a discount supermarket), Albertsons, Fred Meyers (a regional store associated with Ralphs) and WalMart. If I wanted, I could throw in Target, Shopko (a regional store like Target) and KMart - not for groceries but for toiletries, cleaning products, cosmetics and pharmacy - all coupon heavy categories.

Winco is cheap and they have a decent meat, bread and produce selection. Since they are close to home (not as close as Albertsons, though), I'll go by there for a quick "gotta pick up dinner" trip. I almost went there yesterday but didn't because I would have missed out on the store coupons.

Albertson is close and quick. Unless I'm buying with a store coupon, I don't get much there. However, their deli is good and I can sometimes grab up some great deals on meat. They offer lots of ad specials and store coupons. For instance, they are the only store that doubles coupons. I wanted to go to Albertsons yesterday but didn't because they didn't have the stuff I needed on the grocery list. Albertsons is our store for ice cream.

Fred Meyer is a good store and where I buy the majority of my organic, gluten-free foods. They have good meat deals but their produce sucks. They have better selection but not always better prices. I have to be choosy when I go there.

WalMart doesn't carry a lot of what I need but it is the best for pet food (and I desperately needed guinea pig food yesterday), some vitamins and some toiletries. Produce is hit-or-miss and I steer clear of their meat department. Their selection is very limited but prices are cheap enough that I'll try to buy what I can there. As everyone knows, a shopping trip to WalMart is never quick. By the time I check-out I want to hurt someone.

Are prices different enough to get me to shop at different stores? Absolutely. I can save over a $1 on one package of guinea pig kibble. Some products are several dollars different in price. And like I mentioned, some stores don't even carry a product that I'm looking to buy. There isn't one store where I can stop and get everything I need. I've even asked stores like Winco to add certain products to their selection but to no avail.

And we're not stocking up much right now because I'm decluttering to prepare the house to move.
post #10 of 24
I don't have a binder and couldn't deal with one. I bought one of those accordian boxes from staples. As I clip they go into the appropriate slots. I even have a spot for pick ups (dry cleaning). DH seems to loose the slips all the time, so I make him hand me the slips when he comes home. In the box they go. I kept it simple. Dairy, Condiments, Coffee Tea Canned Goods, Paper Goods, sundries, baking, meats, petfood, Restaurant, pick ups, Staples Ace etc. Then I have two spots for our local IGA, Health food store and shoprite/Stop & Shop. The circulars with the better deals is where I shop. I pull coupons from the individual slots and put them in with the circular for that particular store. I often cut coupons and organize them when I watch tv.

When we were first married my DH laughed at me until he saw how much money I was saving. Last year Grocery Savings was 848.51. Total savings for other things was 3,959.29, this wasn't a full year; started tracking in April. I found free office furniture which saved us 2,500, otherwise the total would be closer to 1,000. When I started tracking DH wasn't laughing so hard anymore!
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